Thu May 28, 2015
All Tech Considered

Blind Auditions Could Give Employers A Better Hiring Sense

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 3:49 pm

In the face-to-face interview process, research shows that managers tend to hire applicants who are similar to them on paper.
Bjorn Rune Lie Getty Images/Ikon Images

Entrepreneur Petar Vujosevic was just a regular guy who saw a big problem with the way the hiring system works.

Typically, a hiring manager posts an opening, describes the ideal candidate and resumes come flooding in. After doing some interviews, the manager has to make a gut decision: Who is the best person for the job?

Research shows that more often than not, managers pick someone whose background is similar to theirs.

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Thu May 28, 2015

Wyoming's Smart Grid Reality Hasn't Caught Up To The Promise

Power transmission lines march across the Shirley Basin in central Wyoming.
Stephanie Joyce Wyoming Public Media

Early in his presidency Barack Obama made a pledge to modernize the nation's power grid, comparing its state at the time to early roads before the Interstate system.

"It was a tangled maze of poorly maintained back roads that were rarely the fastest or the most efficient way to get from point A to point B," the president said.

$3.4 billion in stimulus money from the 2009 Recovery Act was promised to do for power what the Eisenhower administration did for roads. The new grid would be smart and efficient, bringing the tech revolution to electricity. It would incorporate more renewable energy. It would have the ability to fix blackouts more quickly. It would save customers a lot of money.

So whatever happened to that plan?

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Wed May 27, 2015
All Tech Considered

Questions Remain About How To Use Data From License Plate Scanners

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 5:11 pm

License plate scanners have helped police locate stolen vehicles and have even assisted in murder investigations. But with their ability to track a person's every move, skeptics worry about privacy.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

License plate scanners have become a fact of life. They're attached to traffic lights, on police cars — even "repo" staff use them. All those devices have created a torrent of data, raising new concerns about how it's being stored and analyzed.

Bryce Newell's laptop is filled with the comings and goings of Seattle residents. The data comes from the city's license plate scanner, acquired from the police through public disclosure requests. He plugs in a license plate number, uncovering evidence of long-forgotten errands.

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Wed May 27, 2015

Since The Electrical Grid Isn't Sexy, It Has A NIMBY Problem

Casey Lemieux and Chelsey Crittendon are fighting a proposed Xcel Energy substation near their Thornton, Colo., subdivision.
Credit Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

Every year Bill LeBlanc, a senior adviser with Colorado-based E Source, hits the streets with a video camera to chat with average Americans about energy. He usually starts with the basics like, "what exactly is electricity?"

Through those videos he finds that most utilities customers don't really understand electricity or most of them don't really care to. That's a challenge for the nation's aging electrical grid. Public knowledge will likely play a bigger role in finding solutions to challenges like reliability, expansion and efficiency.

There are occasions though when greater knowledge actually leads to extra roadblocks for utilities.

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Tue May 26, 2015
All Tech Considered

Higher-Tech Fake Eggs Offer Better Clues To Wild-Bird Behavior

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 6:39 pm

One of these things is not like the other: A 3-D printed model of a beige cowbird egg stands out from its robin's egg nest mates, though their shape and heft are similar.
Ana Lopez/Courtesy of Mark Hauber

Since the 1960s, biologists have made fake eggs for some studies of bird behavior. But Mark Hauber of Hunter College in New York says this kind of scientific handicraft is not exactly his forte.

"I'm a terrible craftsperson," he admits.

That's why Hauber is pioneering the use of 3-D printing technology to quickly produce made-to-order fake eggs, taking a bit of old-school science into the 21st century.

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